Best Data Extraction Tools

Data extraction is essential if you want to collect, analyze, and use data from multiple sources. Doing it manually will seriously reduce productivity and efficiency. Automated data extraction gathers data and transforms it into a format that’s fit for purpose. I’ve compiled a list of the 7 best data extraction tools for you to use in 2023. Take a look…

Let us show you how we can help you with your data extraction needs.

Used across industries – financial services, healthcare, construction, IT, logistics, retail, manufacturing – automated data extraction helps them optimize efficiency by automating manual processes. The first step in the ETL process – extract, transform, load – in which data is collected and readied for loading into a database, data warehouse, or other business system. 

Rossum webpage. Data extraction that adapts when document layouts vary, and learns over time Eliminates the need to create multiple templates.

Cutting to the chase, Rossum is the only data extraction tool you’ll ever need.

In this blog, I’ll dig deep into data extraction. How it works, data extraction methods, data structures, and finally, the best data extraction software. To ensure your data pipeline is more efficient and result-oriented.

What’s data extraction?

Quick definition of data extraction… 

It’s a process that involves the extraction of meaningful information from multiple sources, including web pages, Excel spreadsheet, fax, email, PDFs, documents, scanned images, etc. These sources can be unstructured, semi-structured, or structured.

A structured source includes data in a form or schema. For example, a table with rows and columns. An unstructured source is a bit more… unstructured. Web page, image, handwriting. It doesn’t conform and it can be a pain to extract the data.

Businesses extract data for various reasons. Business intelligence, data replication, data migration, and more. Automated data extraction, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, kicks off the ETL process. Extract. Transform. Load.

A data extraction tool helps prepare the data for analysis. To identify real-time insights and drive AI document processing.

Types of data structures

There are three common types of data structures…

Structured data

Structured data is organized in a predefined format. Such as a database table. Examples include phone numbers, banking/transaction information, product databases, CRMs, invoicing systems, etc. It’s way easier to process and can be queried using SQL

Semi-structured data

Semi-structured data doesn’t follow a tabular structure, but it includes tags and metadata. It can be in the form of XML, JSON, TCP/IP packets, zipped files, web pages, or CSV files.

Unstructured data

Unstructured data doesn’t have a predefined format. It’s not held in a structured database format. It doesn’t follow conventional data models, and is usually text-heavy with dates, numbers, etc. Examples of unstructured data include invoices, emails, ticker data, surveillance data, weather data. Unorganized, it can be difficult to process.

If you’re considering automating your invoice processing, read my guide. Once you’ve digested the why, what, and how, you can take a look at the best invoice automation software.

Not forgetting my 11 Tips for Automating the End-to-End Process of Accounts Payable post.

Data extraction and ETL process

ETL – extract, transform, load – helps businesses streamline data management. Data is captured from different sources. Prepared for analysis. Uploaded to a single location…

Extraction

Data is gathered from one or more source. The data extraction process locates and identifies the data. Then prepares it for processing or transformation. Different types of data can be extracted to access real-time intelligence.

Transformation

Data is sorted, organized, and cleaned. This could mean deleting missing values, removing duplicate entries, performing audits, etc. The goal is to create data that is reliable, accurate, and consistent.

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Transformed data is then delivered to a central repository – database, data warehouse, analytics platform – for analysis. Ensuring the data is available for immediate or future use.

AI-powered data extraction

I’m not saying you can’t do data extraction without artificial intelligence. But why would you?

AI gives you flexibility. You don’t have to rely on template-based data extraction tools. No AI means the data structure needs to be consistent. 

Unstructured data, misspellings, synonyms, etc., create all sorts of accuracy issues. This leads to more time needed for validation. To find and correct these errors before you upload to your internal system. 

Methods of data extraction

Depending on what type and format your data source is, there are multiple data extraction methods…

Web-scraping

Web-scraping tools extract data from websites. Eliminating the need for human participation. But, some website owners block access.

Text extraction

Text extraction tools extract data from digital documents, such as PDFs. They automate data categorization and classification.

API tools

API tools extract data from websites, using web requests. They’re a handy tool if you’re looking to track product prices online.

Data mining

Data mining tools are used to extract data from large datasets and databases.

Manual

It’s slow and there’s more chance of error. It does have flexibility in selecting data.

OCR – optical character recognition

Fast and accurate, but only for text-based sources.

And then there’s Rossum!

Choosing the best data extraction method depends on your specific needs. If we’re talking a large amount of data, automated methods will be the most efficient, with regard time and accuracy. Manual extraction will work for smaller projects, but it won’t scale. 

Why do businesses need data extraction tools?

Document data extraction software automates the entire process of extracting data from multiple sources. This saves time and effort. And removes manual data entry errors when dealing with large volumes of documents.

Humans aren’t perfect.

High quality data provides insights that could otherwise be missed or ignored. Businesses, large or small, need these valuable insights to enable better-informed decisions and increased competitiveness.

According to Gartner, “Every year, poor data quality costs organizations an average $12.9 million. Apart from the immediate impact on revenue, over the long term, poor quality data increases the complexity of data ecosystems and leads to poor decision making.”

What are the benefits of using data extraction tools?

Data extraction software will help you optimize your workflows and drive efficiency. Automated data extraction means that your team is freed from manual processes to work on more creative tasks. Accuracy increased. Time saved.

Check out the Best Document Workflow Software & Guide.

Data extraction is used across industries, including healthcare, logistics, finance, manufacturing, CPG, retail, insurance, construction. Many of these industries still work with huge volumes of paper documents. A manual data extraction process would take a ridiculous amount of time to extract the relevant data. Not to think of the errors down to fat fingers.

Intelligent document processing – IDP – automates this process, increasing efficiency and productivity, while eliminating human error. AI OCR software – optical character recognition – can scan and extract text from documents. Handwritten or typed text.

Yep. It’s that good.

The benefits of data extraction software for document processing…

  • Accuracy
  • Efficiency
  • Productivity
  • Scalability
  • Frictionless process management
  • Usability
  • Ease of use
  • Employee satisfaction

Types of data extraction tools

Understanding your data extraction needs is the first step. What volume of data are you looking to extract? What’s your budget? Data extraction tool categories…

Batch processing tools

Legacy data or data held in obsolete forms should be captured with batch processing. It helps when moving data in a closed environment, and can be done outside working hours.

Open source tools

If you’re looking to save money, open source tools are the way to go. Your team will almost certainly have the skills required. And, there are free versions available. 

Cloud-based tools

Cloud-based data extraction tools allow you to connect data sources and uploading destinations without having to write code. Your team will have quick and easy access to the data at anytime. It also removes human error and security issues.

Best data extraction tools

Data extraction is crucial to any business. Regardless of size or industry. Data is collected from multiple sources. The data is then stored and used for data analysis or imported into company systems.

Data extraction tools make gathering data and storing it easy. Eliminating manual tasks. Saving time and preventing critical data from being lost.

There are many different types of data extraction tools. For example, if you want to extract data from PDF to Excel, you’ll need a tool specifically built to handle PDF files. If you’re working with a specific website, take a look at tools that extract data from website pages.

Let’s start with the top data extraction tool on the market. A data extraction tool that works across industries and use cases. 

Of course I’m biased…

Rossum | AI document processing

Rossum's data extraction software removes data entry errors that result in payment charges and penalties.

Reads like a human. No rules. No templates.

AI-powered intelligence document processing solution that adapts as it learns from document data. Our data extraction platform performs efficient and accurate document processing. Eliminating costly errors and reducing the time to capture

Our AI OCR reads like a human, adjusting to any changes in the style of the document. It can extract text and scanned images from documents. Then convert it into data that can be used in business process automation.

Features & benefits include…

  • Average accuracy rate of 96%
  • 82% of time saved on data extraction
  • Data capture without templates
  • Low-code & intuitive UI
  • Cloud-native solution

Rossum pricing plans are tailored to your unique challenges and objectives.

Data Miner | Web scraping tool

Data Miner web scraping tool. Snapshot of webpage - select a recipe to scrape a page.

An easy to use tool to automate data extraction.

Data miner is a Chrome extension that lets you crawl and scrape data from web pages into CSV, Excel files, and Google Sheets. You can pull data from websites into spreadsheets, cutting out the need for time-consuming manual data entry.

With an intuitive UI, with a few clicks, you can run over 60,000 data extraction rules or create customized rules.

Features include…

  • Scrape data from URLs
  • Create HTML instructions
  • Extract tables and lists
  • Automatically fill forms
  • Scrape pages behind firewall/login

This data extraction tool has a free plan that allows you to scrape 500 pages per month.

Boltic | Secure data collaboration

Boltic secure data collaboration webpage. Turn raw data into business insights with no-code transformations.

Turn raw data into business insights.

A tool for businesses wanting to simplify data exploration and automate business processes. Automate ETL workflows, build and share daily reports automatically and at scale, and extract data from multiple sources. Sources include websites, social media platforms, and databases. 

Use Boltic to create ETL pipelines without coding. Perform data analysis on extracted data. The tool also offers a REST API that can be used to integrate it with other applications.

Features include…

  • 100+ pre-built integrations
  • Create custom data extraction rules
  • Schedule data extraction jobs
  • Receive real-time alerts for pipeline updates

There’s a startup pricing package that’s free. Providing 1 million rows per month and 10 integrations.

Diffbot | social media data extraction

Diffbot social media data extraction tool. Webpage - extract content from websites automatically. Scrape articles, product pages, discussions, and more without rules.

Extract content from websites automatically.

Diffbot uses computer vision and machine learning to accurately extract data from articles, product pages, discussions, and more, without rules.

Its suite of features transforms unstructured web data into structured and contextual databases. A biggie, the tool can extract data from social media. It’s not the easiest tool on the market, so I’d advice giving the free trial a whirl. 

Features include…

  • Scaleable
  • Use-friendly APIs
  • Custom data dashboards
  • Managed data pipelines
  • Extracts any human language

Octoparse | Data extraction tool

Octoparse data extraction tool. Webpage - point and click interface with machine learning algorithm to accurately locate the data at the moment you click on it.

Point-and-click interface with machine learning algorithm to locate data at the moment you click on it.

Can’t code? No problem. Give this data extraction software a go. 

Octoparse provides automatic data extraction so you can turn web pages into structured data. It’s the perfect choice if you need data for marketing, lead generation, price monitoring, etc. Data can also be captured from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, and more.

Need market analysis for your marketing and sales teams? Octoparse can extract data from marketplaces that include Amazon, eBay, Target…

Features include…

  • Point and click to data extraction
  • No coding required
  • Support for extracting text, links, image URLs, and more
  • Download data as CSV, Excel, API, or save to database
  • Cloud-based platform
  • Schedule and run automated tasks
  • Automatic IP rotation

Octoparse offers a free plan. Features are limited, but you get 10 crawlers.

Captain Data | Data extraction & automation

Captain Data - data extraction and automation tool. Diagram showing process of capturing data, from website to integrating in your techstack.

Data automation software for ambitious ops teams. Extracts, aggregates, and integrates data.

Extract structured data from 30+ sources, including TrustPilot, Google, LinkedIn, and more, with this no-code data extraction platform. Captain Data’s complete data automation suite provides 400+ out of the box workflows, to help sales and marketing teams drive lead generation through a growth hacking process.

  • Unlimited extraction from web based data
  • Multiple sources and 3rd-party providers for enriched data
  • Full integration with your existing tools – CRM, spreadsheets, etc.

The captain offers a 7 day free trial with 1000 tasks.

BTW. Take a look at the Why Captain Data page. Funky!

ScrapingBee | Web scraping API

ScrapingBee web scraping API. Data extraction webpage - easily extract data with CSS or XPATH selectors.

Data extraction tool – easily extract specific data with CSS or XPATH selectors.

Web scraping API that manages headless browsers (web browser without a GUI used for site and application testing, JavaScript library testing, etc.) and rotates proxies (proxy servers that assign a new IP address for every connection to avoid CAPTCHAs, IP bans, etc.).

Your sales and marketing teams can use ScrapingBee to extract contact information, social media data, and they can monitor keywords and check backlinks.

Features include…

  • Extraction from simple CSS selector
  • Nested extraction
  • Attribute extraction
  • Full page rendering
  • Output cleaning
  • JavaScript scenario
  • Scrape SERPs

You can sign up for a free trial, which gives you 1000 API calls. And, there are some cracking tutorials.

FAQs

Data extraction FAQs

What’s the best way to extract data?

ETL – extract, transform, load. Data extraction tools capture data from various sources – websites, paper documents, invoices, social media – and prepare it for analysis. There are three main types…
Full extraction. Data is extracted from the source and loaded into a target system. Usually when the system is being populated for the first time.
Incremental stream extraction. Extracting data that’s changed since the last extraction. So the target system remains current.
Incremental batch extraction. Extracting data in batches rather than as a whole, because the volume of data is too large to extract in one hit.

What are the three data extraction methods?

There are four ways to extract data… 
Manual data extraction. A slow process. Hampered by human entry errors. 
Traditional OCR-based data extraction. Documents are scanned with optical character recognition. Inefficient because traditional OCR doesn’t understand the content of the data. Resulting in a lengthy validation and approval process. 
Template-based data extraction. Traditional OCR is unable to extract data from documents with inconsistent layouts. But, users have to create multiple templates. 
AI-enabled data extraction. The intelligent solution – Rossum. It improves employee productivity, saves time and money, removes human error, and automates your entire workflow.

What are the benefits of using data extraction tools?

Benefits of data extraction tools include…
Efficiency. Data extraction tools that employ RPA, ML, and AI speeds up the collection and processing of data.
Accuracy. Manual data processing means human error. AI-powered data extraction software can manage complex data streams, cutting errors and driving data quality.
Scalability. Data extraction tools help companies collect data at scale. Manual processing slows you down if you’re trying to extract data from large volumes of documents.
Process management. AI data extraction software does more than identify and collect data. It can also input data into a downstream process. Extracting multiple types of data – emails, phone numbers, addresses, social security numbers – and populating the appropriate fields on invoices, insurance docs, etc.

What are the tools used to extract financial data?

Source documents in the financial industry and accounts payable departments are unstructured and don’t follow a fixed format. Accurate data extraction of large volumes of documents with high variability can only be achieved efficiently with an AI-powered intelligent document processing solution like Rossum.

What are data extraction tools in healthcare?

Automatically capture, classify, extract, and verify patient and insurance data, medical records, hand written text, prescription records, lab reports, test results, electronic referrals, and more, with an AI-powered OCR document processing solution like Rossum.

Free eBook: How much does document processing cost your business?

Our free eBook explains how much manual data entry is costing your business. Not just financially, but with regard to customer satisfaction, time spent validating data, getting approval, and more. Are you stuck with template-based OCR? How do you tackle hand written invoices?

Are you looking to extract data from transactional documents?

Take a look at how we can help you eliminate errors and increase productivity with our intelligent document processing solution.